Theft crimes are categorized in one of two ways: petit theft or grand theft. Being accused of a theft crime may leave you not only out of pocket from attorney fees and court costs, but also cause real emotional trauma. You could be facing jail time, serious fines, and other severe repercussions.
It is normal to feel embarrassed after a petit theft arrest. This is especially true if you feel the allegations made against you are unfair or inaccurate. That’s where a petit theft lawyer in Miami comes in.
The law can be used to help the accused and with the right legal representation, you can get justice. What is key to recognize here is the law is not only something to be used against us, it can protect us and be used as a tool to help when we need it. The challenge is simply understanding the full extent of the protections you are afforded by the law and how you can make the most of it. Again, this is the job of a Miami petit theft lawyer. Most Miami criminal defense lawyers will be able to offer legal services – but make sure you check their experience in this particular area of the law.
Understanding Theft Law
How theft crimes are charged depends on the value of the items stolen. In Florida, petit theft will usually refer to anything that is below a value of $300. Because the value of petit theft crimes is under $300, petit theft is commonly referred to as “shoplifting.”
Contesting the value of the stolen items is just one area in which a petit theft lawyer can be helpful. The responsibility is on the prosecution to prove the value of the item or items stolen. If this cannot be proven, or if the item has been valued higher than it should have been, then you may be able to avoid a criminal charge or bring down the severity of the allegations.
Generally, petit theft is considered as a misdemeanor in Miami, but that doesn’t mean it can’t result in a number of serious consequences. This is why it is so important not to hesitate in finding a petit theft lawyer in Miami to defend you.
Within the category of petit theft and misdemeanors, the severity of the crime and the punishment can vary.
A second degree misdemeanor is generally considered to be anything under the value of $100. This is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and can incur a fine of up to $500.
Petit theft of property that is valued to be over $100 but less than $300, however, will often be considered a first degree misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Finally, if you have prior petit theft offenses – usually two prior convictions – then the petit theft will often be elevated to a third degree felony. In this case, the punishment can be up to five years in prison with a fine up to $5,000.
Building Your Defense
The first thing to do if you find yourself on the receiving end of a petit theft allegation is to get in touch with a petit theft lawyer in Miami. Upon receiving your phone call we will start with a free consultation and let you know how strong of a defense you have and how we can help.
There are a number of defenses available with the help of a Miami petit theft attorney. One shoplifting defense is that the loss prevention officer made a mistake. In other words, you never actually intended to leave the store with the merchandise. Either that, or you were mistaken for someone else and then blamed for a crime that you didn’t commit. Either way, if you feel that the allegation is unfair, then this might be a solution.
A Miami petit theft lawyer may be able to help your case by examining the CCTV footage and by challenging the loss prevention officer. In some instances, it may be the case that the officer receives a bonus for every apprehension they make. This of course incentivizes them to make as many arrests as possible.
It’s worth noting that any case involving shoplifting carries a possible civil ‘lien’ of $200. This simply means the store will contact you via their attorney to collect the fee. Our Miami petit theft lawyers will advise their clients whether or not to pay this fee.
Not only is it often possible to avoid paying this fee, but you may also find that paying it can be seen as an admission of sorts.
Get In Touch With a Miami Petit Theft Attorney Today
Being accused of a crime you didn’t commit, or being subjected to a criminal prosecution, can often feel as though the law is being used against you as a weapon. As mentioned, the law is impartial and should be there to ensure that a fair resolution is found and justice is achieved. The law is there to protect you just as much as it is to condemn you and the only reason that you may feel as though you’re at a disadvantage, is if you don’t fully understand how to make the law work for you.
This is where a criminal defense attorney comes in handy. At Pagan & Stroleny, P.L., we are criminal defense lawyers in Miami with many years of experience. We’ve helped hundreds of clients get the defense they need and avoid unfair penalties. We are confident we can help you with your case, so call our office now for an obligation-free consultation, 305-615-1285.
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